Watching the Con-Men at work selling fake / counterfeit goods

I got a flyer through the post yesterday (Sat 28th Jan 2012) advertising a cheap electrical goods sale at the Irish Centre in Reading, Berkshire today Sunday the 29th. It was £2 entry, but I thought I’d take a look. It was apparently end of line / sale or return goods from Agros, Woolworths & Freemans.

I’m quite wise to “cons” & “frauds”, habit of a previous career, so from the flyer alone it seemed dodgy, but I thought out of curiosity I’d take a look.

So, now back home from this alleged “Cheap Electronics Sale”, it was crazy, people handing over notes for bits of card which were later exchanged for plastic bags that contained boxes heavily wrapped in black parcel tape.
The guy selling was all talk and sales patter, getting most the room to exchange £10 very early on for boxes of perfume which you needed to wave in the air to buy later items.

They had empty boxed PSP’s, iPads, iPod Shuffles, Nintendo Wii’s & cameras at the start on the display, all these went from view once “sold” and would be handed out later!
He kept engaging the audience of about 50 or so people, would talk about a product or offer, put it on the table, get the cash from those that accepted this ‘discounted price’, the items were then removed from view, to be handed out later (in the unmarked, heavily sealed boxes).
He managed to get a group of Indian lads to each pay £95 for unbranded camcorders. They also had this thing called a WeeGamer which the guy passed off at the new Nintendo Wii device not out til Easter and the new iPhone 5 which was apparently called the MP5 player and was in an Apple iPhone type box with the device pictured on the front.

They almost didn’t let me in because the guy didn’t like the look of me and asked if I was alone, til I told him I was with the mum & son infront of me in the queue. Towards the end when they started handing out stuff from the earlier sales one woman took three boxes off her fella who’d shelled out atleast £50… went to the back of the room and attacked the boxes with her car keys to find a microphone, some cheap looking watches and an unbranded crap electric razor, I looked over and she was sat there, head in her hands.

I managed to get about 5 mins recorded on the phone, but it was difficult with the orange light that comes on when recording with my Nokia and the 5 or 6 guys who were shuffling round the crowd plucking £10’s and £20’s out of peoples hands kept staring at me, they knew I wasn’t there to buy.

The event was brought to a close, the organisers were handing out sealed boxes in blue & green plastic bags and declared the hall was in use directly after the sale by a childrens party and we all had to leave.

I was talking to the Indian lads outside after and told them they’d been conned, one of the organisers saw me and shouted over “talking to ya mates are you”  I spoke back to him and asked him how he felt about being a Con-Man and selling fake / counterfeit / mis-selling goods.  He just said “so what, if they’re greedy enough to want to spend the money, then it’s their own fault…  and yeh I’m not disagreeing with you, they’re fakes, so what!”  At that point 3 or 4 of the large lads who’d been encouraging people to buy and taking money inside came to the door, so I made a sharp exit.

Other than the entry fee, I didn’t pay a penny, I knew the goods were fake and I would warn anyone to stay away from this sort of thing. The age old saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!”

I still have the flyer for anyone interested in reporting / investigating this & wants a copy.

Flyer I received advertising the Electrical Sale 29th Jan Reading


  1. Hi

    I’m a Trading Standards Officer at Reading Borough Council and I’d be interested in looking at the flyer you have.

    This type of activity is very difficult to combat, they’ve got wise to us turning up and providing advice by advertising on the Saturday and having the sale the next day.

    It’s very hard for the victims and the “traders” are very good and convincing at what they do. We’ve stood outside some of these in the past and spoken to every individual going in and still people will part with their money if they think they are going to get a bargain. Too good to be true?

    A law change a few years ago may make it easier to try to tackle these people but they are quite rare. If we hear about them, we can try to do something in advance, but it is extremely difficult to try to pick up the pieces afterwards.


  2. Just been to the exact same sale on West Drayton yesterday.

    Still going on. 20-40 people Yesterday lost up to £150. Thankfully I was not one of them.

    Exact same tricks and patter listening to the video, could have been a recording of the same event except now he’s inflated the prices.

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